February 20th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton campaign launches new offensive on delegate counting


Delegates cheer at the 2004 Democratic convention. This year their official role is under heavy scrutiny. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign launched a new Web site Wednesday designed to convey its argument about how delegates should be counted - the campaign’s latest offensive against Barack Obama's contention that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the party's nomination.

The new Web site lists five of the Clinton team’s disputed views on delegates, including the ideas that Florida and Michigan's delegates should be seated at the convention despite party sanctions and that there is a "clear path" for Clinton to finish the race with more delegates than Obama.

The Web site also argues that superdelegates - or what the Clinton campaign is now calling “automatic delegates” - should not look to the primary season vote when deciding which candidate to support, stating, "The fact is: no automatic delegate is required to cast a vote on the basis of anything other than his or her best judgment about who is the most qualified to be president."

According to CNN's latest estimate, Obama has earned 143 more pledged delegates than Clinton. But Clinton currently has the support of 73 more superdelegates – which translates into an overall deficit of 70 delegates.

Speaking with reporters Wednesday morning, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe repeated the campaign's contention that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the nomination, and said it is nearly impossible for Clinton to catch up in that count.

“This is a wide, wide lead right now,” he said. “I am amused when the Clinton campaign continues to say, 'Well, it’s essentially a tie.' I mean, that’s just lunacy. We have opened up a big and meaningful pledged delegate lead. They are going to have to win landslides from here on out to erase it.”

Plouffe also said the Clinton campaign keeps "offering alternative theories for why they can win the nomination that have nothing to do with the votes that are happening in these contests.”

Related video: Watch CNN's Abbi Tatton take a look at Clinton's new Web site

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Cee Dubya

    If it's all about pledged delegates, then why do we even have superdelegates? You play in the party, you play by their rules. Clinton lost the delegates she won in FL and MI to party rules. It's OK to let that slide while he crys foul on superdelgates?

    This is High School politics. Where is the bake sale?

    February 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. james murphy

    Clinton and the campain that is being run on is a far cry from the one which was run by the presumed winner. Clinton pledged not to campain in Florida but some how was there. This campain to change the past seems to be what Clinton is now running on and it smells of fear...

    February 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Eddy Streck

    I wonder what would happen if at the convention, Obama has 200+ more pledged delegates that Clinton, and yet she still gets the nomination due to super delegates...would seem as though the country had no say in who they wanted to be the nominee. Hmm...

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Greg, NY

    ...there is a "clear path" for Clinton to finish the race with more delegates than Obama.

    Yeah a "clear path" if you consider cheating the system a path. Seating the Michigan and Florida delegates is honorable, but they knew what they were getting in to when they made the rules. Think of all the people that stayed home thinking their votes wouldn't count.

    They should hold either another primary or a caucus to solve that problem.

    Then there's the superdelegate problem. Why should their votes count more than any one of ours? They get to vote in their primary in their home state and they get to cast another vote at the convention. That second vote should belong to the people, not their 'best judgement.'

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Janet Greco

    Were can i go to ask question's for tomorew night's debate I have questions for both of them and there is no way to ask them ahade of time

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. redneck in nyc

    the fact that Hillary thinks the superdelegates have every right to ignore the votes of thier constituents is anti-democratic, un-american, disgusting, unforgivable and proof that she only cares about winning. she might as well hire Karl Rove. she's losing, she's desperate, and she is just plain WRONG. Here's to an Obama vs. McCain election! America has had enough of the weasels!

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Shane, NY

    Here a little bit about Obama's Experience. Obama was involved in the Senate's drive for improved border security and immigration reform. In 2005, he co-sponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" introduced by Sen. John McCain(interesting right). I'm just starting, he was also involved in adding three amendments to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act in 2006. There was "Lugar-Obama" which expands the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines. There was the "Coburn-Obama Transparency Act" which provided oversight for our government website and where funds were being allocated(keeping them honest). He is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which focused on trying to curb wmd's. Obama worked with Russ Feingold to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress and require disclosure of bundled campaign contributions under the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act". Sounds like he is just talking about fighting lobbyist. He also introduced the "Iraq War De-Escalation Act" to put a cap on our troops. He sponsored 2008 Defense Authorization Act which provided safeguards for our disabled veterans(he cares about our troops). So I think we can stop talking about his experience now. Seems like he did a lot in Congress.

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Johnny

    Hillary Clinton will claw at power until the day she dies...she is a corrupt Washington insider with her hands in corporate pockets everywhere, and power mad beyond all belief. She believes she is "entitled" to win, and her experience in my opinion is 1 term in congress... that is all, and that was just to set the stage for a run at the Whitehouse, which we are seeing now.

    We need someone to unite this country, not attack republicans every chance she gets....she is basically attacking half the country when she does that, and haven't we had enough of the country being split apart under the current administration?? We need someone most of the country can rally behind, who can work to get things done instead of butt heads with the other party constantly, not someone who is divisive and hyper-partisan such as Clinton.

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Mike

    The Declaration of Independence states that all men are (created) equal. What can be more simple to understand? One man one vote: the people and the superdelegates. Let the voters decide this without "backroom" dealing. The DNC made the rules for Florida and Michigan and that's it. The only way those delegates can be seated is through a fair "do over."

    February 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. W.H. Raulerson

    Today, President Candidate Barack Obama is the most dangerous man in America. Like John F. Kennedy, He has become a threat of good intentions to the American political Status quota. He has called out the lobbyists who are own by America’s most powerful business and financial institutions. Change will not be easy and the one’s who are in power will fight to death if necessary. Perhaps He’s most dangerous because he is an African-American who dares to believe he can be President of the United States of America. I believe in Senator Obama and I pray that God surrounds him with his angels. Like JFK, Obama has given me/us hope again in American democracy. I pray that democracy in America this time will be expressed by the voices of the people and not by a gun of a person(s). I have great fear for him because of his vision and hope, I have great fear for him because he is good for America and he is going to Washington DC.

    February 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Jim Scheele

    Why do the Clintons keep trying to change the rules of the game? Not only are they trying to have FL and MI count, but they are now trying to undermine the entire democratic process with their pleas that "automatic delegates" go against the wishes of their constituencies. In the extremely unlikely event that she wins the nomination, I promise to vote for McCain, even though I can't stand him or his party. The Clintons should start showing some grace and dignity, otherwise they will tear the party apart. If Obama wins in the March 4th primaries, Hillary has no choice but to get behind him or she will go down as one of the most divisive political figures in our history.

    February 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Jeff M

    Clintons: By any means necessary...

    February 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. pmet

    Politico.com recently ran an article stating that a higher up in the Clinton campaign said they would start going after Obama's pledged delegates. The Clinton camp immediately denied it. Now, one day later and Clinton two more states behind, they are rehashing the argument on Florida and Michigan, which of course Hillary Clinton didn't mind being sanctioned until she began losing, and wants the name of superdelegates changed to automatic delegates and strong armed into voting for her. As sure as I am sitting here typing this right now, she will try to undermine the pledged delegates Obama has accumulated. She is a win at all costs individual with no integrity. The people of this nation are speaking, loud and clear, that they do not choose her to be the democratic nominee. Instead of either bowing out gracefully or taking the high road in her campaigning, she has resulted to smear campaigns, ridiculously overstating her "years of experience" and now trying to change the whole electorate/delegate system. I really believe it is time for the DNC to step in and tell her enough is enough. She would rather destroy the party, steal the nomination and lose the general election than give the voters a chance to vote for the candidate they are choosing, Obama. Believe me, we will not go quietly. I cast my vote and votes, like words, matter.

    February 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Anacostia

    here we go – obama get your attorneys in order – it's getting hot in here!


    if u stand for nothing you'll fall 4 anything!

    February 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Vince, Phoenix

    Sounds kind of Bush-esque to me...

    (Bush doctrine)

    If you don't like the rules.... CHANGE THEM !!

    February 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Herman Grace

    I am a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I fully intend to support the Democratic nominee. I sure don't want to be defending the remarks of Michelle Obama. There is something about her that we don't like. It may come back to bite that campaign where it hurts

    when he went home for Valentine's Day, was he being a good family man or was he being told, "You better be home or else!"

    February 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Ticked Floridian

    Just like in the Gore/Bush election this needs to be taken to the Supreme Court. Mrs. Clinton, fair is fair if the votes didn't count before you won them, then the votes still do not count. Stop trying to cheat, you are looking really, really desperate. The voice of the people are speaking. They want Obama. Concede and pull the Democratic party back together. Look to Mitt Romney.

    February 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. James

    There's nothing you can do Hillary. Sorry but even if you cheat, you still can't win. Be humble and don't tear the democratic party up.

    PS: What a sore loser you are

    February 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. NM Native

    How can this woman be percieved as somone who can unite everyone this is driving a wedge in her own party and let alone the Voters who have stated their voices!

    February 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. marge

    Now she's "Blatently" trying to steal the nomination!!!! No matter how she words it,she's asking the "super delegates" to over ride the voice of the people!!!!

    February 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Hillary Won't Leave The Building

    Hillary is for Hillary, while Barack is for America.

    Hillary will not leave the building without dragging, kicking and screaming–so vote her out America.

    If she wants my vote, she'll have to show her tax returns, give back the corporate funding, and give back the White House silverware she stole.


    February 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Ron

    Another attempt at old style party politics where voters don't get to choose. This looks like the Republican strategy they used in Florida in 2000. Another attempt to do anything to get the nomination. The CLintos need to be aware that this is a selection process by the people of the party and not by their own campaign. They should have made all these arguments before the rules were set and agreed to by everyone. Now that they are behind, they want to change the rules. The word automatic delegates sounds like the word collateral damage when describing innocent people who are killed. I am tired of the Clinton's politics and scheming. They are no better than Rove and his gang.

    February 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Peter Canada 4 Obama!

    What else have the Clintons won't bring on the table that will ultimately make them look foolish.?

    February 20, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Lloyd Hansen

    Here is Barack's catch 22: He wants to change the establishment in Washington but he needs the votes of superdelegates to do it. As long as Hillary keeps picking up delegates (even while losing the popular vote) she could very well beat him at the national convention with super delegates, many of whom owe her favors and have a vested interest in keeping Washington the way it is. The threat of Obama running on an independant ticket with Michael Bloomberg is significant, though. This is easily one of the messiest Democratic primaries in the recent past and it is getting uglier by the day.

    February 20, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. M J

    the country will be divided if the so-called superman people in the back room tries to overthrow the will of the voters. history will be making for the republican candidate who is not fit to rule this country..

    February 20, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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